Mr. Murphy Loves Your Cut-and-Paste Waiver - MOD028


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Welcome to the Merchants of Dirt Podcast Episode #28, hosted by founder Kyle M. Bondo. In this episode, you learn why waivers your first line of defense against personal injury lawsuits and remind you that it is your duty as a race promoter to avoid being negligent.

Having a Solid Liability Waiver is VitalAll off-road sports are inherently dangerous and involve clear risks, but so is not having a well-written liability waiver. Not only are waivers your first line of defense against personal injury lawsuits, but they remind you that, as a race promoter, it is your duty to avoid being negligent.

By making your racer’s sign a liability waiver, you require them to read and acknowledge that they assume the risk of injury that could result from a race. However, it also reminds you that a waiver only covers you to a point.

You should probably know the answer to this question long before you ever hold your first race.

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Steps to a Good WaiverWhen you’re ready to start changing, start applying the techniques of:

#1 — Don’t make it up yourself In classic liability waiver cases, a racer injured while participating in your off-road race will have a questionable liability claim due to their signing of a liability waiver. That is if your liability waiver is valid and enforceable. Don’t try to save a few bucks and leave yourself unprotected by trying to create a weak liability waiver yourself.

#2 — Don’t race without knowing your State’s law Liability waivers in most States are a mixed bag of legal issues when it comes to enforcing them outright. In simple terms, a liability waiver does three things for both you and your racers:

  • It informs them that off-road racing is inherently dangerous and involve clear risks
  • It limits their right to sue you in the event of injury
  • It provides an assumption of risk defense that can be utilized by you in the event of a legal claim

#3 — Don’t be surprised when you get sued Unfortunately, being sued is a part of being in the race promotion business. We all know that injuries are going to happen, and most are going to be self-inflicted. But regardless of the liability waiver, an injured racer’s signed, a few will still try to come after you for damages.

The study cited by Stites & Harbison stated that of the over four million extreme sports injuries reported between From 2000 to 2011. many of them showed that exculpatory clauses (e.g. liability waivers) were found to valid and enforceable under common law principles.

When the exculpatory clauses (e.g. liability waivers) violated public policy or the damage was the result of willful or wanton conduct on the part of the defendant, they were found to be not valid and unenforceable. In other words, when the injury is a result of the race promoter’s gross negligence or deliberate misconduct, the liability waiver did not provide any legal protection.

Call to ActionThank you so much for listening to Merchants of Dirt Podcast. If you have questions or comments, please reach out to me @MerchantsofDirt on Twitter or by Email. I have a few things I want you to do right now:

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Get Lost Racing PodcastIntroducing my new podcast Get Lost Racing (GLR), hosted by me, will help you master the endurance sports that make up off-road racing by teaching you what they are, how they work, and what makes them great -- one discipline at a time! Please check it out at

About the Merchants of Dirt PodcastThe Merchants of Dirt Podcast, hosted by founder Kyle M. Bondo, is a show dedicated to helping you build better off-road races and give you the sports management skills needed to promote successful mountain biking, trail running, orienteering, adventure racing, and endurance events. As part of the Reckoneer Media Network, Merchants of Dirt Podcast joins the Get Lost Racing Podcast in supporting Reckoneer’s education mission to teach race promoters how to build a successful race promotion business. Each episode provides subscribers with an insider’s guide to practical recreational engineering and useful race promotion education from the point-of-view of Kyle’s 20+ years of experience in the off-road racing industry.

Thank You for ListeningNow go build better races!

50 episodes available. A new episode about every 12 days averaging 46 mins duration .